Life’s too short to be bored. If your current job leaves you sitting at your desk waiting for 5 p.m. to roll around, it’s time to look for something new.
Fortunately, Chicago has no shortage of exciting tech companies offering opportunities to be part of something big. We put together a list of eight companies to help get you started on your search, — and they’re all hiring in a big way.
What they do: Although it is headquartered in the historic Board of Trade Building, PEAK6 is a far cry from your traditional stuffy trading firm. Launched in 1997, the company was a pioneer in using proprietary technology to manage risks and make markets — and it is continuing to push the envelope with technology and data to this day.
Sweet perks: PEAK6 has a sabbatical program, philanthropic events, an annual firm-wide party with top-tier entertainment and health and wellness initiatives including massages, weekly yoga and free health screenings. The team likes getting social together, too, with trivia nights, sports leagues, a book club and an annual poker tournament where the grand prize is free entry to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
Who they look for: “We’re in an industry that changes quickly, which is why we give our technologists a fair amount of freedom to find creative solutions to problems,” said CEO Jason Kunreuther. “The candidates who thrive at PEAK6 are ones that have a strong drive, like to collaborate, and can adapt quickly to find new solutions.”
What they do: BenchPrep uses game mechanics and data-driven personalization to build intuitive, cloud-based learning technology. The company counts major education players like the ACT and the HR Certification Institute among its customers, and its software has been used by more than one million students.
Sweet perks: BenchPrep’s employees get stock options, competitive salaries and a company-sponsored 401(k). The team also bonds over daily catered lunches, monthly company dinners, quarterly outings and impromptu ping pong matches.
Who they look for: “We look for people who are curious, take initiative and want to work in a very collaborative environment,” said CEO and co-founder Ashish Rangnekar. “Our employees are motivated by the opportunity to help learners; they take pride in their work and have deep respect for our customers and each other.”
What they do: Trading Technologies builds tech solutions for professional derivatives traders. The company’s cloud-based TT platform lets customers bring a high-performance trading desk wherever they go. Trading Technologies is also behind X_TRADER, an order-entry solution that lets traders operate in multiple markets from a single screen.
Sweet perks: Trading Technologies invests in its people through professional development courses and reimbursements. Employees also enjoy an open kitchen and craft beer bar, generous parental leave, matching for 401(k)s and charitable donations, and 22 days of PTO on top of holidays.
Who they look for: “Our ideal candidate is passionate about technology, imaginative in finding creative and scalable solutions, and collaborative in working through those solutions,” said CTO Drew Shields. “We are trying to push the limits of the trading industry, and with our tuition assistance program, employees can continue their education or pursue certifications in technology with tuition help. That said, while hard skills are important, a positive and entrepreneurial mindset is crucial to our culture and company success.”
What they do: ItemMaster’s cloud-based product data platform lets packaged goods manufacturers create and distribute structured product data, ranging from nutritional information to USDA certifications and marketing materials. The company works with some of the country’s largest manufacturers and delivers data to a range of retailers both in the e-commerce and the brick-and-mortar space.
Sweet perks: In addition to health and wellness initiatives, including a Fitbit contest with prizes, employees at ItemMaster get generous time off, health benefits and 401(k) contributions. The company’s Chicago team also moved into a brand new downtown office this January, so there's plenty of room to grow.
Who they look for: "Each individual who joins ItemMaster is an owner and we are looking for passionate people who want the responsibility of owning the work it takes to change a market," said CEO Michael Murray. "We are a company in motion, too, so we're looking for high-energy folks who also like to have fun."
What they do: The company behind the Kairos SaaS analytics platform, Networked Insights uses machine learning to analyze social media posts and identify audiences, improve content, pinpoint the best channels and track how campaigns are doing in real time.
Sweet perks: Networked Insights wants its employees to have lives outside of work, offering flexible work schedules, paid parental leave and unlimited paid time off that employees are encouraged to take. The company’s office space, connected to Merchandise Mart, is stocked with free snacks and drinks and hosts regular yoga classes. Employees also bond over catered breakfast every Friday, creative holidays and special events.
Who they look for: “We are entrepreneurs to the core,” said CEO Dan Neely. “Regardless of the position, we look for people who are motivated to innovate, who take ownership of their work and collaborate with others to tackle whatever problems come their way, and who are comfortable with ambiguity and a fast pace of change.”
What they do: Placester builds marketing solutions that help real estate professionals grow their businesses online. Fresh off a $50 million funding round, the Boston company is expanding its Chicago-based tech team.
Sweet perks: Employees at Placester receive competitive salaries, 401(k)s and full medical, dental and vision insurance. The fast-growing company also offers generous early-stage equity and unlimited vacation.
Who they look for: "Placester is always looking for engineers who are engaged in the greater development community and passionate about learning and pushing themselves and our products forward,” said COO Fred Townes. “We are the type of people who like to open a beer while white boarding creative solutions to complex problems."
What they do: An online obituary technology provider to more than 1,500 newspapers across the world, Legacy.com gets more than 30 million visits every month, making it one of the United States’ 50 most visited websites.
Sweet perks: In addition to paid time off, a 401(k) and a casual work environment, Legacy.com offers its employees a kitchen stocked daily with coffee, tea, soda and snacks. Employees also get health, life and disability insurance.
Who they look for: “We’re looking for passionate, creative thinkers excited to work with cutting-edge technology and friendly, compassionate coworkers,” said VP of human resources Katherine Laggos. “We believe deeply in the service we provide our customers, so candidates wanting to make a difference in people’s lives find a good home with us.”
What they do: Signal makes marketing technology that combines online and offline data to help brands understand their customers and reach them with consistent cross-channel messaging. Its solutions are used by more than 45,000 digital properties in 158 countries.
Sweet perks: Signal offers employees unlimited paid time off and encourages them to attend and present at conferences. The company’s building has a gym and a bike room, and the kitchen is stocked with food, drinks and good coffee. Signal also has a generous parental leave policy.
Who they look for: "To be a Signalite, you must be passionate about the digital landscape, fall in love with new ideas and love to continuously learn and improve,” said VP of human resources Sara Schroeder. “We want individuals who take the initiative to go above and beyond to provide their highest quality work and those who can easily adapt to change. We want Signal to be an enjoyable place to work, so we value candidates that radiate leadership but have respect for their colleagues too."
Images via participating companies.
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